It’s been a long time since I loosened my tenacious ego’s hold on my consciousness by indulging in drugs of any kind, with the noble exception of caffeine as delivered in a tasty brown beverage, which in any case serves only to temporarily sharpen the mind whilst eventually exhausting the body. Ninety nine per cent of the time I am certain this self-control is a good state of affairs, but every so often I wonder whether total abstinence is such a good thing.
I can easily point to the benefits of not drinking alcohol, not smoking tobacco, not seeking the comfort of cannabis, nor self-medicating with the great, varied range of pharmaceutical candies which are easily available in Britain. My life is stable and my moods are manageable. My body is fit and my sleep is sound. My friendships are not based on a co-dependent self-annihilation, and that raw, inflamed, eventually insatiable greed for sensory overload is refreshingly absent. Not that I dwelt long in these tangled jungles of desire; but visit them I did, from time to time, somehow managing to avoid becoming prey to the beasts who inhabit those dark spaces.
To fall back now I would have to risk the balance I have worked hard to achieve both mentally and physically. It wasn’t so long ago that I was told it would be necessary for me to remain on thyroid-controlling drugs for the rest of my born days. I recall the doctor who discharged me, fit and well, casually letting me know that the drugs I was on for eighteen months would probably have had the “side effect” of damaging my bone marrow… I am content with tea, meditation, exercise and acupuncture. My sex life is good, my work is improving. I feel good with myself for having taken the decision and stuck to it to lead a cleaner life.
Still, I dream. We discussed, my artist friend and I, last night in the pub, she with a small beer, me with a back coffee, the necessity and the pain of restraint. We debated the balance to be found between letting go and holding on. She told us a tale of Easter indulgence which left her reeling and which made us all laugh. The following weekend, she said, on the same tip, someone had ended up in hospital. We needed a blast, a boogie, we decided, a night out, music would do it, companionship and moving our bodies. We parted, and later I slept peacefully under the full moon and I dreamed of getting high.
In the dream I questioned my actions, even as I found myself repeating long discarded behaviour, going through the embedded ritual, savouring the anticipation, the method and the hit. I was gloriously and thoroughly stoned, my heart sang and my eyes burned, my pirate nature was extravagant, jubilant and victorious. Retracing the old steps, I felt the guilty rush and experienced the mental meltdown, and though fast asleep, I knew I would regret it later.
Except, later, I woke up, with a clear head, next to the woman I love, had a cup of tea, and wrote this.